A line of Monterey cypress trees at Coole Park are to be felled next week for safety reasons following a recent inspection which showed they were diseased.
Many who enjoy walking in Coole Park will be familiar with the trees which provide a shaded walk and were planted in the early thirties.
The decision to fell the trees came after tree surgeons revealed that the trees were in an unsafe condition, that a fungal infection had been identified and that some of them had been damaged by storms earlier this year.
The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) of the Department of Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht has confirmed this decision and work on the felling will start on September 1.
Dr Enda Mooney, from the NPWS said: ‘Regular visitors to Coole Park will be familiar with the line of mature Monterey cypress trees that runs along the path that connects the site of Coole House to Coole turlough’.
“The existing line of trees forms a shaded, arched walkway for visitors to the site and many people will closely associate these trees with the Nature Reserve. News that they must be felled will come as a disappointment, therefore, to locals and visitors. However, the NPWS cannot ignore the safety concerns identified by the tree surgeons who recently inspected the trees.
“The trees were also left damaged by the severe storms of last spring. In the interest of public safety, we must regrettably proceed with felling the trees.”
In order to ensure the safety of the general public, there will be some restrictions on access to this section of Coole/Garryland Nature Reserve while the trees are being removed.
These will include restrictions to access to the outside toilets at Coole, and the path from the former site of Coole House to the Coole River. It is hoped that other trails will remain open. Visitors will be able to make use of the other toilets in the nature reserve, located in the visitor centre. The work is expected to take about one week to complete.
Coole Park, the former home of Lady Gregory and centre of the Irish literary revival and now a nature reserve, is a popular visitor attraction for both locals and tourists.
The Monterey trees were planted sometime after 1932 by the Forest Service, after the Coole estate was taken into State ownership from the Gregory family.
Lady Gregory’s two grand-daughters who lived with her at Coole, recalled that when they lived there, a wire fence existed along the boundary that is now occupied by the trees.
A tree nursery was established, at the back of Coole house around that time. It is likely that the cypress trees were planted as a shelter belt for the nursery.
Pedestrian seriously injured in Furbo hit and run
A man in his 40s is in a serious condition in hospital following a hit and run in Furbo last night.
He was a pedestrian who was walking on the R336 road near Furbo Church, when he was hit by a car around 8.30pm.
The driver of the car failed to remain at the scene.
The road is currently closed with diversions in place while Garda Forensic Collision Investigators conduct an examination of the scene.
Gardaí are appealing for any witnesses to the collision to come forward, particularly any road users who may have dash-cam footage recorded in the area between 8pm and 9pm.
Drug use in Galway at ‘frightening levels’ says top Garda
Use of illegal drugs has reached ‘fairly frightening’ levels across the city and county, according to Galway’s top Garda.
Chief Superintendent Tom Curley said that only about 10% of the drugs in circulation in society are detected by Gardaí.
He said that there had been increases in detection of drugs for sale or supply and for simple possession in the city and county so far this year.
Cocaine in particular was an issue in Galway, he said, but increased drug use was evident in “every village and town in the country”.
In his report to the latest Galway City Joint Policing Committee, Chief Supt Curley said that there had been a 22% increase in detection of drugs for sale or supply in Galway, up 14 to 78 at the end of September.
There had been 108 incidents of drugs for simple possession, up by 15%.
The amount of cocaine seized in the first nine months of the year amounted to €538,838. The level of cannabis seized amounted to €361,872.
Ecstasy (€640) and heroin (€2,410) were also seized, according to the Garda report.
Councillor Donal Lyons (Ind) said it was a concern that cocaine had overtaken cannabis for the first time, in terms of the street value of the amounts seized.
Councillor Eddie Hoare (FG) said that the Garda Drugs Unit needed to be commended for the seizures.
Councillor Alan Cheevers (FF) said it was concerning that use of cocaine had escalated.
In response to Chair of the JPC, Councillor Niall McNelis (Lab), Chief Supt Curley said there were some instances where parents or siblings were being pursued by criminals over drug debts accrued by family members.
He added he would continue to allocate resources to the drugs problem.
Up to 20-week waiting period for youth mental health service in Galway
Young people in Galway have highest waiting times in the state for an appointment with the Jigsaw youth mental health service.
That’s according to Galway West TD Mairéad Farrell who revealed that waiting times for an appointment here are currently up to 20 weeks.
“Figures released through a Parliamentary Question have shown there are significant wait times for counselling appointments with Jigsaw, the mental health service which provides vital supports to young people, in Galway,” she said.
“Demand for the Jigsaw service in Galway and across the State continues to grow, however, as a result youths are waiting up to 20 weeks to get an appointment. With young people from Galway currently experiencing the longest wait times at 20 weeks.
“Every expert in child and adolescent mental health will tell you that early intervention is absolutely vital in avoiding enduring and worsening problems in the future.
“Yet, these figures reveal that if a child or young person seeks out care they are in all likelihood going to be faced with extended waiting periods which are simply unacceptable and put them and their mental health at a very serious risk,” she added.
Deputy Farrell said that young peoples’ mental health had been adversely affected during the pandemic – with loss of schooling, sports, peer supports and even their ability to socialise with friends impacting.
“Jigsaw have experienced a 42% increase in the demand for their services and this cry for help from our young people cannot fall on deaf ears,” she said.
“There is also an element of postcode politics, that depending on where you live you may get treated quicker. Some areas have a three-week waiting time while others are left waiting for 20 weeks.
“Uniformed mental health treatment is needed – so our young people can access the care they need, when they need it and where they need it.
“I have called on the Minister to urgently engage with the service to provide a solution,” she concluded.